What do creepy old men and the NYPD have in common?

Cn: street harassment, creepy behavior, pedophilia

They’re both useless, unnecessary, and just the worst.

So the playgrounds in NYC are finally reopened. And since I had my nieces and nephews (henceforth referred to as niephlings) for the weekend, I decided to take them and my daughter to the playground.

Now this playground is also a park but the areas are clearly defined. There is a policy in place that adults are not allowed in the playground without children.

My niephlings range from ages 7-3. My daughter is 10. So mami joined us to help out. It was a warm day and the playground was not crowded so it was perfect to keep social distancing protocols. While the smaller children played on the baby slide the two oldest (my daughter TJ and niece V) ran around the playground. I noticed a man who seemed to be by himself staring at the kids, particularly the girls, and smiling. I kept my eye on him.

Eventually TJ and V went to the swings. And the man moved to the seats in front of the swings. After a little while TJ tells mami that they feel uncomfortable because the man kept staring at them and their cousin. I asked V and she also said she felt uneasy. While keeping an eye on the other kids (they were close by to be safe) I went and stood by my girls. Mami stood next to the man.

We both watched him. He kept smiling. If you’re a woman or non-man, you can trust your gut about this sort of thing. It wasn’t just a kindly old man smile. It was creepy.

Finally mami asks him what he was staring at. He says he could stare at whoever he wanted. So mami starts to tear into him. I come along and he asks me, “right? I can stare and smile all I want?”. No, I replied. Especially not at little girls. I was getting shaky and told him I would rearrange his face if he kept it up. He told me to bring it on! The audacity? It only gets worse.

So we’re yelling at each other. He keeps insisting he can stare at whoever he wants. He actually mansplained sight to us! He says the cops would prove him right. Now I’m not a fan of cops, much less the NYPD and this encounter didn’t help. The man calls 911 and the cops eventually show up.

Mami and I explained to them what happened. They went and talked to him. They were with him for about 10 minutes. They come back and say he wasn’t breaking any laws. That since the playground is also a park, they cannot move him. I mean, it’s really convenient, you know? The police sure do know when to use force and when to not. But whatever. This post isn’t about police brutality. Although we DID talk about how useless the police were to us and about the whole organization at large.

They asked him to move and he refused. He said he had a long walk so he was tired and he wasn’t going to move.

So, he has a long walk and rather than sit in the benches at the entrance he walks his ass all the way into the playground. Make it make sense. And to refuse to move when he’s been told he made people, especially children, uncomfortable is just even more audacious.

The cops told us we could stay in the park but not speak to the man or we could move to another area. So this man’s pants feels are more important than my children’s right to safety. One cop told us not to let this man ruin our fun.

We went home. Once home I called the parks department and filed a report. I explained and they told me that the man was NOT supposed to be in playground area, regardless of it also being a park. So, the cops just didn’t want to do their job? I’m shocked. /sarcasm

This is not the first time my daughter has been creeped on and I know it won’t be the last. Creepy, predatory behavior is something my daughter and my nieces will have to endure. What did this teach my nephews? That they, as men, can do and say and sit and stare and make people uncomfortable at the least, but it’s ok? My daughter and nieces are just supposed to deal with it?

This is rape culture. It’s a culture that tells women and non men we just have to take creepy behavior. It’s a culture that doesn’t respect children. It’s a culture that tells you to trust your instincts but then chastises for doing just that.

I spoke to my niephlings, especially V and my daughter and we discussed what happened and how they felt. I told them they did the right thing by saying something.

Oh and by the way, since I was so shaky, the man had the nerve to laugh and tell me not to be nervous. The audacity of this jackass, not to mention the entitlement.

I hope he has a heart attack. We have a term in Puerto Rico for creepy old men, viejo verde. And he’s definitely green as hell.

Creepy old man

What do creepy old men and the NYPD have in common?
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Dobranoc Babciu

I received a phone call early this morning from my father: his mother Lidia Bula née Pardon, my beloved grandmother, had passed away at the age of 91.

This has been especially hard on my Father. Around 30 years ago, when I was just a toddler, he lost his father Andrzej to a surprise heart attack. At the time, my father’s immigration status in Canada was still under application, meaning he couldn’t leave the country without risking not being granted re-entry. With a wife and new daughter here in Canada with him, it was a risk he couldn’t take. He had to miss his father’s funeral and the chance to see his face one final time.

Now 30 years later he loses his mother, and circumstances again steal from him the opportunity to say good-bye. Mine too for that matter.

Continue reading “Dobranoc Babciu”

Dobranoc Babciu

Some Pictures of Beautiful British Columbia

As a way to share some of the better aspects of living here, here are some pictures from BC, most of which are from the last few days and some socially isolating long drives and fishing trips.

Gallery

Greetings From BC

CN: Description of mild medical procedure and wound care, mention of needles.

So much has happened in the last month.

I made it to BC with remarkably little trouble. My birds came through ok, CJ was a darling quiet girl on the plane, and my stuff arrived just a few days after I did.  The move itself went remarkably smoothly. The guys who came to load up the truck were nice and very professional. They loaded everything up in under an hour. When the truck arrived here, everything was unloaded nice and quick too. All my stuff arrived in one piece and all of it arrived. Continue reading “Greetings From BC”

Greetings From BC

SO MUCH TO DO!

Things have been intense.

As I mentioned, I was accepted to UFV to study Agricultural Technology.

It’s a really exciting move for a lot of different reasons.

The program itself seems amazing. Part of it includes a certification in Livestock production with many of the classes involving actually working hands on with different animals. So far everyone I’ve met in the department is really nice and helpful. When I was visiting my boyfriend, they even showed us around the school barn building where they had piglets and chickens, and a whole greenhouse full of student grown projects.

It would mean a chance not just to learn about farming both from the technical side and business side, but also means a chance to make connections with the agricultural community itself which could mean opportunities to fulfill my dream of a little piece of land to farm and live on. Continue reading “SO MUCH TO DO!”

SO MUCH TO DO!

Big News!

There are some big exciting changes coming my way.

As you might know, circumstances beyond my control forced me into a situation where my best option was at least temporarily, moving back in with my family. I’ve also been seeing a really great guy for coming on two years, who also happens to live clear across the country. And it’s a pretty big country.

Moving out there, or him moving out here, were made difficult by both of us being on disability. We can’t easily leave either province without losing financial support or worse, coverage for medication. What’s worse, is you can’t even leave the province for ore than 30 days without losing your coverage, so even when we can make a point to visit, we are restricted in the amount of time we can spend together.

Both of us have long dreamt of having a little piece of land where we could have our own little farm and do our various arts.

Well, recently I managed to take a big step towards that dream and towards the possibility of being together in one place for a bit longer.

I’ve just been accepted to the University of the Fraser Valley to study Agriculture Technology!

It’s a really interesting program that gives students a good introduction to farming. Students can choose either a horticulture or livestock certification track, and learn all about things like how to use farming equipment, how to recognize and treat different livestock diseases, pest management, and so on. There is a component where you do a practicum working on a farm itself.

They know about my disabilities and are willing to work with me to accommodate them.

The best part is that as long as I’m in school, I can be down in BC and still receive disability. I just have to come back during any time periods when I’m not enrolled in classes.

I’m really excited about all this. It means I get to spend a lot more time exploring this amazing area with my wonderful guy. We get to see what it’s like to be together when we also have our own stuff to do, which is an adventure all in itself.

It’s also a little scary.

I moved for university the first time, but while it wasn’t close to where my family lives, it was still within a day’s drive away. While out in BC, my family will actually be closer to London England than to me. It’s moving to a whole new province. A different time zone. Heck, a different coast.

Trying to figure out the logistics is a little frightening as well. I can’t move all my things, since I am coming back for some months, but I still need to bring a fair amount with me. At the very least my office things, my clothing, and some of my art supplies. Not to mention my birds!

I’m going to be trying hard to sell of as much of my art as I can to help fund the move, not to mention getting a fair bit of writing done.

I look forward to getting to write about my adventures on the West Coast and in my studies.

It is quite a bit different from how it was the first time. For one thing, while I still intend to do as well as possible, there is a lot less pressure about grades. If I don’t get the top GPA, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I complete the courses and learn as much as possible.

I am also enrolled as a disabled student, meaning this time I actually get to see about getting accessibility for my conditions on an official basis. It’s also the first time I am going to school with my ADHD medicated.

I’m also 32, as opposed to the young 18 I was when I first started.

This time, school is covered by OSAP, a student loan, which with this and disability, means a lot more paperwork being involved.

The school is also quiet a bit different. Unlike the University of Ottawa which has some longer history behind it, UFV has only been an official university since 2008. Not only that, but the actual number of students is much much smaller, which means so will the class sizes. Despite that, the campus is spread out across a few different cities, although the majority of my classes will be in the same one I will be living in.

I am so excited that starting in January, I get to be a Sasquach!

Big News!

BC Adventures

I haven’t been online much in the last month and a half.

Part of that was the fact that I was working hard on a variety of outdoor projects for my family. Not only managing most of the garden, which included having to come up with some way to curtail two tomato plants that started growing out of control, ending up taller than me. The part that took the majority of my time though was a water feature I agreed to design and build for them.

It was the kind of work that ended up taking all of my energy. I would spend my day performing manual labour, and by the time the sun set I would be so exhausted that the only energy I would have left is to feed myself and collapse on a patio chair to read a few chapters before falling asleep hours earlier than usual. Continue reading “BC Adventures”

BC Adventures

Raised Garden Bed

As the weather’s been warming up, my thoughts have turned to my garden. One of the hard parts about leaving Ottawa was also leaving behind the wonderful community garden and oven and all the amazing people involved with it. I have found gardening helpful in helping me to relax, which may seem trivial but is actually essential to managing my health, and actually surprisingly difficult for me. My parent’s garden is something they have been working on for some time. There are several elements put together painstakingly and so I worried about the possibility of getting a space in it. But luck was on my side and with a little persuasion, I was granted a section to do with as I pleased, provided the end result was also attractive and fit with the overall garden aesthetic.

Continue reading “Raised Garden Bed”

Raised Garden Bed

A Short Update on Me

Earlier this summer, I wrote about my on-coming homelessness.

After I wrote that article, I went into gear getting myself on the subsidized housing list, getting endless notes and forms from my doctors stating my disabilities, my accessibility needs, the fact that it was medically dangerous for me to either go back home, or end up in a shelter, not to mention looking for a place to go. At the start of August it seemed I had a place, then less than two weeks later it seemed that it was not to be, then it looked like I had found a place not just for myself but for two others – but they received over six applications and decided to go with someone else.  For a month, what I was going to be doing for housing kept being jerked around. My landlord agreed to extend the lease two weeks to at least give me until mid-September to find a solution.

In the end, I was left with moving back to the Niagara Area, with my parents.

Continue reading “A Short Update on Me”

A Short Update on Me